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Woman Traveling in Greece

Top Tips From A Travel Agent On Booking Future Vacations 

While the Covid-19 pandemic is still very much an issue in our world, with the release of multiple vaccines and advanced health and safety procedures being implemented to curb the spread, many are remaining optimistic, and spending their remaining days in quarantine fantasizing about where they’ll travel to first once the world reopens again. While we may not know exactly when we’ll be able to hop on a plane without worrying about if we have our masks or not, it can be fun to start thinking about the future now.

Nadine Cresswell-Myatt is a travel journalist who recently published the best tips she’s ever received from a travel agent before, so here are some things to keep in mind the next time you have the opportunity to leave your house for a while. 

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First and foremost you should always book early morning flights in the middle of the week, specifically Tuesday if you can. Regardless of if you’re a morning person or not, flights leaving early in the day are much less likely to be delayed, additionally, by the time you get to your destination, depending on how early and long your flight is, you’ll have more of the day to take in the scenery and start enjoying your vacation right away. 

The best days of the week to travel are also always in the middle of the week, and statistically speaking Tuesday’s are the least busy days for most airports in America. Mid-week early morning tickets also tend to be much cheaper than say a 6 p.m flight on a Friday. If you’re the type of person who packs a lot and gets nervous that a packed flight may prevent you from using overhead carry on storage, definitely consider getting a flight on one of the least busy travel days in general. 

A more niche, yet useful, tip for couples or anyone traveling in a group setting is to always pack a complete change of clothes in the other person’s suitcase. While this may sound weird, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where the airline loses your luggage, or accidentally ships it to the wrong location therefore delaying how long you are without your clothes, having at least one change of clothes will be enough to hold you over for the first day or two; or until you can get to a clothing store. 

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Keep all prescription medication in your carry on. This goes along with the previous tip of ensuring you have all your necessities should the worst happen and an airline lose your luggage. Your health is never something to be taken for granted, as this pandemic has taught us, so if you’re an individual taking prescription medication in any context, make sure you have it on you at all times just in case. 

Along those same lines, bring more medication than you will need. Some travelers make the mistake of only packing the specific dosages that they’ll need for the time they’re gone, however, you never know what could happen. For example, say you’re getting ready to leave and a storm hits so your flight gets moved to another day, you don’t want to be left anxious thinking about how much medication you have left. 

Finally, if you’re using a travel agent, only use ones that have actually been to the destination you’re trying to go to. It’s the same concept for any type of professional you would hire to do a service for you. You would never hire a real estate agent that just moved to your town a week ago and didn’t know anything about the area, you would want the more established agent who has been selling homes in your town for decades. So whenever you’re able to take that first trip post-pandemic, plan smartly, and leave no box unchecked. 

Holiday Zoom Call

Using Technology To Keep In Touch Over The Holidays 

The holidays are obviously going to be much different this year. As most of us have already experienced with Thanksgiving, taking advantage of the multitude of digital tools out there that keep us connected with our loved ones has been the best way to keep the holidays alive this year. Since we won’t be able to celebrate Christmas and all the other holidays normally this year, it’s time to start planning some digital festivities to keep the positive spirit up!

First, choose a good medium to use to connect you with your loved ones. As most of us know at this point, Zoom is one of the best platforms for video-chatting with multiple individuals at once, however, for most users they’re limited to a 40-minute time-stamp for video calls which then prompts users to create a new room and send out the link again. On Thanksgiving, Zoom removed the 40-minute limit so that families could talk for an unlimited amount of time, and while they will likely do this again at some point for Christmas, there are other platforms one could easily use too. 

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Google Meet doesn’t require any additional software to be downloaded onto your device, you just need a Google account. FaceTime also allows for over 30 individuals to be in a call at once, so if you and your loved ones all own Apple devices this is another great option for you to connect. 

Next, make a nice set up for your device. Chances are you don’t want to spend the whole night sitting at a table or desk and talking with your family, so set it up in a comfortable spot in your home that makes it feel as though your entire family is in the room with you. If you have a smart TV or streaming box of any kind, you likely will be able to stream your device’s screen onto the television. By setting up your computer where the TV is as well, it will seem as though your entire family is at the center of your space.  

If you’re alone for the call, or can manage it with multiple people, wear headphones for the call. This way you’re able to move throughout your space and still hear everyone clearly, assuming you own wireless headphones. Additionally, most video-chatting platforms work better when the users wear headphones in terms of audio feedback. 

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For most platforms, when one individual is speaking, everyone else’s mics are typically muted, so sometimes the audio can sound really choppy when multiple people are trying to speak at once. If everyone’s wearing headphones, this problem is much less persistent. 

Make it a full on event and sync up a cocktail hour, appetizer, and dinner time with your family. By having and sticking to a schedule, it will really feel like you’re all together and celebrating at once. If you want to take it a step further, try to sync up the entire menu so that everyone is eating and enjoying the same meal. This is a great way to keep any holiday traditions alive in terms of the meal and what you and your family tend to create together. 

Finally, have fun with it. Maybe set up some digital holiday games that everyone can enjoy within their living rooms, or set up a secret Santa drop off so that everyone can open their gifts to one another on screen in front of the individuals who got them the gifts. Just because our holidays are looking different this year doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice any of the joy and spirit that makes this time of year so magical.

Girl in Face Mask in the Winter

How To Start Planning For The Long, Cold, Covid-19 Winter Now 

While the Covid-19 pandemic has truly turned all of our lives upside-down, the one slight perk has been the fact that the weather has been so nice for the past eight months, allowing us to still see our loved ones and do certain activities in outdoor socially distanced settings. Now that it’s officially fall many of us are remembering that in a month the clocks go back and the cold months of winter will begin. 

Instead of sitting around and dreading the inevitable until it gets here, start planning out things that you and your quarantine families can do together when the weather gets colder. Seasonal depression, or seasonal effective disorder, can add a whole other layer of stress to our already busy and frantic lives in the middle of an apocalyptic year, but it doesn’t have to be scary.

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Start by asking yourself what you personally need to get through the next few months as happily and healthily as possible. Do you need to make some plans ahead of time? Will you need to gather supplies of some sort for certain snow day activities? Think of some general things that will make the upcoming winter more bearable and work from there. 

For example, if I knew that I would need to be able to see my friends every other week or so to still feel like a real social person, I would then begin to think of certain winter group activities that can be done outdoors. Going for winter hikes during the day is a great way to stay connected to your loved ones while remaining distanced. Enjoy the winter scenery during the day while the sun reflects the beautiful landscapes that come with the colder months.

Another way to see your friends without putting your health at risk is committing to weekly Zoom or Google Hangout happy hour type events. Regardless of if you drink or not, having a scheduled day of the week and time to talk to your friends is necessary for all of us. Try scheduling it for the end of the work week so that you all can unwind, and enjoy each other’s virtual company. 

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Throughout the entire pandemic people have been using their time in lockdown to learn a new skill, practice a new hobby, and work on any other passions they’ve been procrastinating due to the stresses of everyday life. Well, now that winter will really be forcing us all to stay indoors in the coming months, there’s never been a better time to learn something new and keep your mind stimulated. 

Learning a new language, or how to to cook, bake, knit, write poetry, etc. are all amazing stimulants for the mind, body, and soul, and will leave you with an overall accomplished feeling. Watching yourself go from beginner to expert at something even as simple as learning to bake a cake, is rewarding, and I think we all could use some of that positivity right now. 

While travelling is pretty much the last thing on most of our minds, there are still loopholes in working out how to vacation during a pandemic. For example, AirBnb has implemented a whole slew of new health and safety procedures for all participants involved to ensure that guests can still travel during the pandemic without any major risks. Hotels have also implemented these policies, so if you find yourself needing a break from your home, book something today for a few months into the future when you’ll really need a break.

Finally, it’s important to remember that winter also equates to another holiday season. Regardless of what you celebrate, you can’t deny there’s a positive, cheerful, and giving attitude in the air during the holidays. Don’t let Covid-19 stop you and your loved ones from celebrating at home and getting into the spirit of the season. Decorate, watch cheesy Lifetime movies, bake traditional desserts, make some snowmen, and just take a breath to enjoy the fact that you’re with the people you love.

House Fire

How To Better Protect Your Home From Wildfires

As we’ve all seen, wildfire season has been devastating within the past year alone. The frequency and severity of these wildfires in the US have grown exponentially to a place we’ve never seen before. According to the US Forest Service’s 2019 Wildfire Risk Analysis, more than 4.5 million homes in the western US are currently at high or extreme risk of wildfire exposure. Now more than ever it’s important for all homeowners to take necessary precautions in protecting their homes as much as possible from the potential threat of wildfires, here are some measures one can take: 

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Clear Your Rook and Deck: Burning embers from smaller fires that float down from the plumes of smoke in the sky are a major threat to homes and other structures that aren’t protected. It only takes one ember to ignite a pile of dead leaves on a roof or deck that can prompt the entire house to then go up in flames. In the warmer wildfire season especially, one should be keeping their deck/porch swept of all dirt and debris as well as their rook. If you live in a wildfire prone area, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends getting asphalt shingles, clay or concrete tiles, metal, and/or slate roofing as all of those are fire resistant. 

Keep Embers Out Of Vents: Open eaves, vents, and other areas of exposure can also be extremely vulnerable to ember exposure, so make sure you have all openings from the outside of your home screened/sealed off. If your home has a pet door make sure it has a proper seal that can keep it closed during fire season/when it’s not in use. 

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Create A Plan For Emergency Responder Access: In case of emergency, you need to ensure that firefighters and other law enforcement employees are able to gain access to your home should you and your loved ones need help. Make sure your street names and numbers are clearly marked and legible from a distance. Make your specific address number prominently known on the outside of your property. If you have a driveway, try to keep it as cleared out and open as possible should a firetruck need access, as well as other areas of access into the home. 

Collaborate With Neighbors: If you’re in a wildfire prone area on the west coast of the US you should be talking to your neighbors about what the plan is should your neighborhood need to evacuate or respond to an emergency situation. There’s a multitude of online resources wildfire-prone communities can access to keep them better prepared for the future. Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a company whose main purpose is literally creating guides for communities to keep them prepared. 

Firewise USA is a program run by the NFPA that empowers homeowners and residents all across the country to increase their ignition risks in their homes and communities. Currently the program has over 1,500 active sites in 42 states that they run out of. 

The NFPA also created a prep day to raise community awareness on wildfire risk that they call the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. This day is full of useful information, techniques, drills, supplies, etc. that can better prepare any homeowner for future wildfires. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of this day’s activities and information workshops aren’t able to occur in person, however, the NFPA created an online toolkit that anyone can access at any time to give themselves a refresher on wildfire prevention.

Flower Wallpaper in Home

How To Spice Up Your Home With Wallpaper

In the middle of a global health crisis that’s forcing all of us to stay home, many have started checking off boxes on their long list of home projects that they’ve been putting off for years now. When it comes to interior design, something that can really change up an entire space is wallpaper, however, a lot of beginners are afraid of using it because they view it’ll be too difficult, or won’t look good. 

There’s a multitude of ways one can incorporate wallpaper in the home that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but easy to do. One of the most difficult aspects of wallpaper is choosing which one would work best in your house. Ben Pentreath is an architect and interior designer who often recommends that his clients look at the architecture of their home before deciding on what type of wallpaper to choose. 

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“If your architecture is more neutral, then I’d say the sky’s the limit when it comes to mixing styles. I tend to choose something calm and more neutral in my bedroom, but then go wild and have fun in the hallways, bathrooms and guest bedrooms.”

Clare Gaskin is an interior designer who tells her anti-wallpaper clients that they simply “haven’t been exposed to enough of it,” so she makes it part of her job to show them. Her personal philosophy on wallpaper is that it should be both functional and decorative, which is why she often opts for a more textured vinyl wallpaper option. 

She explained how recently she was faced with the challenge of redesigning a room that had a door on every wall, which from a design standpoint can really make a space feel small, and cramped. So to unify the space she put a solid, muted wallpaper with a slight faded grey checkered pattern that she also put on the doors so when they were all closed, the room felt cohesive and cozy, as opposed to tiny. 

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The specific wallpaper was made from faux grass-cloth, a material she’s been using in a lot of projects as of late. This wallpaper is vinyl, which gives it a more textured appearance but also allows for easy cleaning should anything get on your walls; Gaskin normally always recommends this type of wallpaper for houses with kids, as a simple sponge and soap can get almost any mess off of the surface.

One of the most unconventional, yet creative, ways one can use wallpaper in the home is by putting it on the ceiling. For smaller rooms, go bold and colorful on the ceiling to draw the eye up, and pull the focus to be on the aerial of the space. This creates the illusion that the room is much more spaced out than it actually is. 

For larger rooms, choose a smaller pattern that isn’t necessarily “busy,” but bold, so that it works as more of an accent piece for the space, rather than the main attraction. When it comes to interior design in general, we should be having fun and feel excited about our visions. Think about your dream room makeover and make it a reality. Find small ways to make a space come to life and if you don’t know where to start, look at the bones of the space and start on the outside and move in; aka, start the walls. 

Camp Tent

Things To Keep In Mind If You’re Planning On Going Camping For The First Time

With the Covid-19 pandemic hindering everyone’s summer plans, many are turning to alternative means of travel to itch their vacation scratch this year. Camping has become one of the most popular modes of vacation this year as it’s one of the only ways that individuals can get out of their house while remaining socially distant from others. For those of us who have never been camping before but are ready to finally try it out given the circumstances, there are some things we must avoid in order to ensure we have a fun and safe time in the wilderness. 

First and foremost, do your research, especially if this is your first time. Luckily the internet has millions of resources one could use to find the perfect spot to camp. Apps like Campspot have grown in popularity within the past few years. Campspot specifically makes it easy for users to find campsites that fit their budgets while also listing all the surrounding amenities in the area you’re planning on travelling too. The app also helps individuals with disabilities find more accessible campgrounds so they don’t have to worry about getting around complex terrains or running into any seriously dangerous wildlife. 

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For your first time camping it’s also important that you don’t choose a location that’s too far from your home. Being relatively close to your house will make you feel more secure if you’re a little nervous about your first night in the great outdoors, and you’re more likely to find private campgrounds as opposed to more open ones that are popular in National parks. 

CEO of the app Campspot, Caleb Hartung, recommends going no further than 130 miles from your home for the first time. This way you’re still distanced enough to feel like you’re in a completely new environment, but are close enough to leave if you feel so inclined. 

“I wouldn’t recommend a national park for a first-time camper.  There’s just a lot more staffing on a private campground, and these private campgrounds are also more common, meaning they’re within an hour to an hour and a half from home.”

Campot operates in 47 states and some parts of Canada, so Hartung is referring to a majority of America when he says private sites are more common. When it comes to actually preparing for your trip, don’t over-pack/over-invest in new camp gear. It’s easy to feel pressured to buy everything at a camping store when it’s your first time because you don’t know what to expect and want to be prepared for everything, but it’s just not necessary.

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Again, do your research on the area you’re planning on camping at and look up other more experienced campers testimonials of their experiences at the same sites. Listen to what they brought and read up on recommendations for the specific campsite, it’s likely if the grounds have a website they’ll have a section that tells you what you should be bringing. 

Make sure you pack a variety of clothing for your trip as well. This is yet again dependent on where you plan on camping, however, in most wilderness areas the temperatures drop heavily at night. Pack a lot of layers and also plenty of light clothing for during the day in case it gets really hot. 

Make sure you’re packing enough water and food provisions for yourself as well especially if the area you’re heading to doesn’t have a lot of convenient store establishments around. This is the part of packing that Hartung always encourages campers to over-pack on. 

To that same extent you must also over-pack on things that are meant to protect your skin. Sunscreen/SPF lotions, bug spray, and closed-toed shoes are all necessities anywhere you camp. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and to reapply it every two hours, maybe even every hour depending on how much time you’re spending in the sun. 

Do your research, read up on where you’re going and get organized. Camping can be a fun spur-of-the-moment experience, however, for your first time it’s best to be as prepared as possible.

Healthy Life

Healthy Lifestyle Choices To Help You Live Your Best Life

During a global pandemic, there’s an extreme focus on health and safety. Beyond just not wanting to be infected with Covid-19, many individuals are realizing that they need to be putting their general health at the forefront of their priorities so that they can continue to live out normal and healthy lives once this is all over. According to doctors, there are certain lifestyle choices we can be making everyday that will not only improve our bodies health, but extend the likelihood of living a long life.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Many individuals who are trying to lose weight think that skipping breakfast can help speed up that process, when it’s actually the opposite. Being hungry in the morning can lead to snacking throughout the day and later into the night, which is bad for digestion. 

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Have a breakfast that’s high in things like fiber and vitamins but low in things like fat, sugar, and salt. Oatmeal, fresh fruit, or yogurt, are all great options to have in the morning. 

According to the NHS’s Eatwell Guide, a balanced diet in general is one of the most important things to maintaining a healthy life. The NHS specifically advises that you “eat the rainbow” everyday, referring to the “rainbow” of food groups. You want to make sure you’re eating starchy carbohydrates (potatoes, bread, rice) as a third of your diet. High fiber and wholegrain options are the healthiest and will aid your stomach with digestion as well. 

Doctors also claim that eating starchy carbohydrates throughout the day helps stop you from snacking on unhealthy foods later in the day. Another third of your diet should be dedicated to fruit and vegetables; doctors recommend five servings a day. The remainder of your diet should consist of dairy products (depending on your dietary restrictions), meat, and fish. 

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Sugar and salt are the number one enemies of living a healthy lifestyle. Not only can they cause things like high blood pressure, weight gain, tooth decay, and more, but both substances also actively dehydrate your body. As we know, water is the most important substance, besides food, that we can put into our bodies to keep us alive. So when we’re eating foods that are high in sugar and salt, we’re depriving our body of those essential nutrients. 

Speaking of, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This summer has proven to be a hot and humid one, just being outside will dehydrate your body, so make sure you always have a reusable water bottle (for the environment) in your presence. There’s a lot of information out there about how much water you should be drinking a day, but most doctors agree that getting anywhere from 6-8 glasses a day is average and should be the minimum. 

Finally, try to get into any kind of exercise that’s fun for you. Now that we all have an indefinite amount of time at home, there’s no excuse to not take up yoga, running, or any other sort of exercise that can be done easily. Many individuals are intimidated the most about where to start when it comes to getting into exercising. Luckily, the internet exists, and is one of the largest resources for free exercise tips and training tricks from professionals. Simply go to Youtube, type in the type of exercise you want to get into followed by the term “for beginners,” there should be a whole slew of options for you to choose from!

Woman Cooking Salad

How To Manage And Relieve Your Stress During A Pandemic

Amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, it’s no surprise that we’re all feeling a lot more stressed than usual. On top of working from home, taking care of our families/loved ones, and having to worry about an infectious virus that spreads easily, there seems to be no time to just take a minute and breathe. However, now that we’re all home for an indefinite amount of time, there’s never been a better time to practice effective ways of managing and relieving your stress levels. 

When we’re more aware of how stressed we become throughout the day, it’s much easier to figure out ways to combat those feelings and recognize them before it builds up into an overwhelming cloud of anxiety. Make a note of what things are triggering a stressful response in you everyday, and then try to work on those specific areas. While this can be as specific as receiving an email from one particular coworker who never gets anything done, there are a multitude of general ways to help separate ourselves from the situation and calm down. 

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Getting exercise or at least some sort of movement in everyday life is a requirement for being quarantined. Even if it just means going outside and walking a few laps in your backyard, it’s essential that you’re at least stepping outside, breathing in some fresh air, and stretching out your muscles and bones everyday. 

It can be so easy to get wrapped into binge marathons on Netflix, especially now, but we can’t get too comfortable with making that a habit. The more you’re sitting around and just watching mindless TV shows or movies, the more likely it is you’re going to put off the things you have to do which will only lead to even more stress being added onto your already full plate. 

Learn how to create boundaries between your work and personal life. This is imperative for those who are currently working remotely. It can be challenging to turn your work brain off and casual at-home brain on when you’re just home all the time. This is why it’s recommended that you set up your remote working station in an area of your home that’s as separated from the rooms that are known for inducing relaxation (such as the living or bedroom). 

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Another easy way of separating your work and personal life at home is to make sure you’re filling your personal time with activities that you want to and enjoy doing. This could include cooking, gardening, knitting, reading, and anything else that you consider relaxing. By filling your free time with things you want to do, and your work time with the things you have to do,  it’s easier for your brain to make that distinction, even if you are just moving from room to room everyday. 

Make sure you’re staying hydrated as well. Getting enough water everyday is obviously imperative for your physical health, but it also is for your mental health. According to Amanda Carlson, the director of performance at Athlete’s Performance, “studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol [stress hormone] levels. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that you drink one milliliter of water per each calorie of food consumed.”

Make lists of all your daily, weekly, and monthly goals. It’s easier to break down what you have to do for work, your family, and yourself when you have the general guideline in front of you. Daily duties can include things like returning emails, making phone calls, baking a cake for your brother’s birthday, etc. Weekly duties can include more generalized things such as going to the grocery store, ordering more dog food online, and basically anything else that isn’t an immediate need but should get done within a matter of days. Finally, monthly goals can more so pertain to you personally and how you’d like to see yourself grow in the near future, which includes managing your stress. This list can include things such as starting to exercise at least twice a week, or learning how to cook a new dish every week, etc. Have fun and be creative! This is your own personal list of goals, so make it personal. 

Finally, and arguable most importantly, you have to make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep is one of the number one causes of stress, as we all know, when we’re tired, we’re a lot more irritable, which makes it so much easier for us to get stressed out. The Sleep Foundation recommends getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Try going to bed at the same time every night and turning off all your screens at least one hour before bed. This will start getting your body into a proper sleep schedule and can help ensure that once you’re asleep, you’ll stay asleep until the morning.

Millennials Buying Home

What To Do Before Buying A Home

With the current state of the world, buying a home is likely the last thing on your mind. However, with an ample amount of spare time on all of our hands, now is also the perfect time to start listing out your life goals and really break down what you need to do to accomplish them. Buying a home can be extremely stressful if you go into the process blind, so it’s important to do your research and know the basics of the industry before beginning your journey as a homeowner. 

The most important thing that you can do as a buyer is hiring the right real estate agent for you. You not only want someone you can trust, but who has experience with the housing market in the specific area that you’re moving too. Ask your friends and family for their recommendations and be sure to check as many online reviews from past clients as well, as those will offer the greatest insight. 

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The same way you want to ensure that you have a reputable and trustworthy real estate agent, you want to make sure you have the same for any builders, inspectors, and any other professional you’ll want to hire during this process. Builders especially can be hit or miss if they don’t have a lot of experience in the specific area you’re moving into. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been in the industry for ten years, every town has its own specific set of rules/regulations regarding home projects and renovations, so it’s important to hire someone who is equipped to abide by those guidelines while staying on budget; this is where customer reviews are yet again going to be your best friend. 

You also want a qualified inspector for the same exact reasoning. Especially if you’re buying a brand new home that’s never been lived in before, you want to ensure that all the inner workings of your future home is running smoothly and up to code. 

Once you have your agent, and you find a home that you’re interested in, do a walk through with your agent and make a list together of home improvements and projects that you’d like to see completed before you move in. If the current owner doesn’t want to budge on certain projects, this is where you and your agent can negotiate pricing.

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This list will also be beneficial for your home inspector, as they can enforce the current owners to complete certain projects if they’re going against any legal housing codes for the specific area. The inspector can also recommend you to reliable construction/renovation companies for whatever home improvements you may have to complete after the move. 

You can never visit a property too much, the only thing you have to worry about is someone else coming along and snatching it from under you before you even had the chance to make a decision. However, it’s important to visit a home a few times before making any final decisions. Try to do your walk throughs on days where the weather is different from your last visit. This way you can see how the landscaping fairs in different climate conditions, and also see how well things like heating/cooling in the house work. 

Finally, before you make any decisions, make sure you have a nice long talk with your agent and loved ones so that you can really break down every specific and clear up any confusion you may have. Remember, you hired your agent to be knowledgeable on all things real estate, so no question is too small or stupid when it comes to your future home.

Cleaning Appliances

How To Properly Clean Your Home Appliances

Now that we’re all spending an indefinite amount of time indoors, many are taking it upon themselves to deep clean their homes and begin spring cleaning a little early this year. Our kitchen appliances are often overlooked when it comes to our weekly household chores, so now’s a better time than ever to get into all those nooks and crannies of your space and give your kitchen a much deserved cleanse.

Many individuals don’t realize this, but the user manuals for all kitchen appliances actually have a section dedicated to proper cleaning/disinfecting techniques for your specific appliance. If you threw out the manual to any of your older appliances, don’t worry, most appliance manuals from any year should be available online on the brands website. It’s important to note that the more often you clean your appliances, the longer they’ll last.

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Your washing machine is something you probably never think to clean, since it’s job is to literally clean your clothes for you, however, most machines are already equipped with a cleaning or sanitizing cycle. If not, laundry detergent companies such as Tide sell washing machine cleaner that’s specifically designed for disinfecting your washing machine. You could also throw some vinegar or regular laundry detergent into your machine without any clothes actually in it, and then run a regular wash cycle. This will clean all the pipes and inner workings of your machine, and guarantees no harmful bacteria or germs stay behind for future loads.

Your dryer’s lint trap should obviously be cleaned with every single load to prevent any kind of fires or dust clogs. Wipe down the inside of your dryer’s door, and all of the little crevasses around the lint tray, this will ensure that you get every last bit of dust.

Dishwashers, like washing machines, are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning your home, as it’s function is literally to spray soap every load, so you’d assume it cleans itself as it cleans your dishes. However, you want to make sure that your dishwashers filter is staying just as clean as the surface of the machine itself. Many individuals aren’t even aware that they’re dishwasher has a filter that needs to be tended too, this is where your user manual is going to come in handy. Every dishwasher has a different kind of filter and filter placement, so look up your specific model and how to clean your specific filter. It likely will be as simple as taking the filter out and rinsing it under hot water.

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The refrigerator is actually one of the kitchen appliances that more times than not does get a cleaning every once in a while, as it should. It’s important that the machine that’s main purpose is to keep all your food fresh and cold is also sanitized and disinfected, to ensure the same for your food. Simply wiping down all of your refrigerators shelves with warm soapy water should do the trick and become a part of your regular cleaning routine.

Ovens are another device that sometimes have a self-cleaning option. Beyond that, to get all the built up gunk and burnt food particles from your stove, remove any metal on the stove top that has that ability, and take out your ovens shelving as well to make sure you’re able to clean every part of it. Oven cleaner works, and a homemade recipe of salt, baking soda and dish soap has been a staple trick for decades for cleaning out the oven.

So this year, while you’re spring cleaning your home, make sure to pay special attention to all of the appliances we use everyday, but always overlook when it comes to cleaning.